# LED tape in scenic pieces

#### rmarsh

##### Member
Hi all,

I have a design project I'd love to hear your thoughts on. We're building these fiberglass waves that vary in height from ~4" to 1'. They'll be sitting on the floor and I want to light them up with LEDs. The one instrument I know that could fit under the smallest ones are Astera Lightdrops. We could rent those but it'd get expensive fast. My other thought is to buy LED tape. I've never done this and I'm not sure how expensive/complicated it might get. Do I need to get the $20 per meter nice stuff or is the$20 per 5 meter stuff usually fine? There are so many power supplies and DMX decoders; how do I know which to get? Some advice would be appreciated. I definitely want RGB and 2-3 channels would be nice.

#### Morte615

##### Active Member
I worked with Fiberglass Glacier pieces for a Museum Install. We placed RGB LED strips (the cheaper ones) inside in against the back wall every few feet and connected them to a controller (not DMX but there's no reason you can't use a simple 3 channel DMX controller.) It looked pretty good in the dim hallway they walked through, but when it went full dark you could see the lines of the lights. That could be fixed by just moving the lights back more or adding more frost to the paint.

A sample of the controller: http://www.holidaycoro.com/3-Channel-DMX-Controller-for-RGB-Lights-12v-DC-p/38.htm

Speaking of paint, make sure they use transparent paint and not opaque paint. Using opaque paint won't let the light through nearly as well, if at all. Though using a mixture of styles is what a good scene shop would do IMO
Attaching a few pictures of the setup.

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#### rmarsh

##### Member
That's a good bit like what we're doing. I'm thinking I may go for the more expensive tape since it looks like higher density LEDs on the strip will blend better.

I'm using an Ion to control and by 2-3 channels I actually meant 2-3 grouping of RGB. I've already gotten used to the Ion way of calling an entire fixture one channel. So I guess that means I'll need at least a couple DMX decoders and possibly more than one power converter.

I worked with Fiberglass Glacier pieces for a Museum Install. We placed RGB LED strips (the cheaper ones) inside in against the back wall every few feet and connected them to a controller (not DMX but there's no reason you can't use a simple 3 channel DMX controller.) It looked pretty good in the dim hallway they walked through, but when it went full dark you could see the lines of the lights. That could be fixed by just moving the lights back more or adding more frost to the paint.

A sample of the controller: http://www.holidaycoro.com/3-Channel-DMX-Controller-for-RGB-Lights-12v-DC-p/38.htm

Speaking of paint, make sure they use transparent paint and not opaque paint. Using opaque paint won't let the light through nearly as well, if at all. Though using a mixture of styles is what a good scene shop would do IMO
Attaching a few pictures of the setup.
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#### ship

##### Senior Team Emeritus
That's a good bit like what we're doing. I'm thinking I may go for the more expensive tape since it looks like higher density LEDs on the strip will blend better.

I'm using an Ion to control and by 2-3 channels I actually meant 2-3 grouping of RGB. I've already gotten used to the Ion way of calling an entire fixture one channel. So I guess that means I'll need at least a couple DMX decoders and possibly more than one power converter.

Sounds like you already know where you need to be going. I don't know what Ion is, but higher density tape is what I use most. Urr, yes decoders and power supplies dependant on length and channels. Will add up $a lot, and your leg work is going to be important. Housing for the power supplies, connectors if road show, power suppliy housings and lots of more. Beyond that, match up all your LED tape to each other in color matching and buy extra before assembly. There is lot number problems between tapes and buy extra because there will be problems in assembly. Them little pads even if proper solder do lift off at times especially if too much heat or flex. LED tape will get better and has already but buy extra and test what you get. Nodes will go out etc. Leave accessable to replace during the run, if portable setup good connectors to unplug and nothing moved while doing so etc. and etc. Replaced many many installed LED tapes over the years, this both on bad lot number on istall and later even months later on a tour. Dislike them kind of in being glad to be working on a Encapsulite fluorescent lamp project this week for a change. With it's own challenges. #### kyleelton ##### Member rmarsh, I'm working with the LED tape for the first time and I have done a little research, but still am unclear. How are you connecting the LED tape strips to your light board? Tape comes with a unique controller that came with the strips and don't have a DMX output. I found some three channel controllers and some 24 channel controller at drastically different prices. You seem to have that part figured out. Can you clue me in? #### microstar ##### Well-Known Member rmarsh, I'm working with the LED tape for the first time and I have done a little research, but still am unclear. How are you connecting the LED tape strips to your light board? Tape comes with a unique controller that came with the strips and don't have a DMX output. I found some three channel controllers and some 24 channel controller at drastically different prices. You seem to have that part figured out. Can you clue me in? See: http://sirs-e.com/product-category/led-lighting/led-strip-lights/led-dmx-controllers/ for DMX LED strip controllers like the picture: #### Attachments • 13.7 KB Views: 142 #### cbrandt ##### Well-Known Member Elation also sells a single output, and 8 output led tape controller. I just used a few of the 8 drivers in a project. They're nice, because they don't need an external power supply. A little pricier than the single outputs (and they can only drive as much as 3 of the single outputs), but it is nice to have all in one package. #### rmarsh ##### Member Those are like the sort of controllers I was looking at. I never ended up actually doing this project since all the fiberglass scenery got cut from the show (Oh well). I still really want to play with LED strips sometime though so hopefully some other show will come up that gives me an excuse to buy them. #### Chris Chinni ##### Member Those are like the sort of controllers I was looking at. I never ended up actually doing this project since all the fiberglass scenery got cut from the show (Oh well). I still really want to play with LED strips sometime though so hopefully some other show will come up that gives me an excuse to buy them. Buy some of the cheap ones and play with them at home. You can get a roll of 15' or so for about$30 on Aamzon.

I currently have 15' on the underside of a drum cage roof to provide some overhead lighting so that the drummer doesn't look like he is in a cave. They are nowhere near as nice as the Chauvet Colorpalletts I have on the floor of that same drum booth, but they are bright enough to add dimension to his face and movements.

They are RGB and I can turn on each color independently. But, since the LEDs are about 1/2" apart, I find that it works best when I am using combinations of all three colors.

I have also used them as accent lighting for glass brick cake pedestals.